2012 was the worst year of my life. I felt like 38 years of bad luck were being paid in full, all at once.
We lost Harper-dog two weeks before the New Year, I was fired (most unfairly) in March, and then I almost died in November and spent December figuring out how to walk and move around on my own again. I won’t go into the many smaller things that made it suck.
Two of the best things in my life happened in 2012. Funny how these things work.
We adopted Indi-dog from a shelter an hour away. Why I dragged Bob an hour away is now beyond me; we have perfectly good shelters right here. Wasn’t thinking clearly. My heart was not merely broken, it was shattered. They brought in this little 3-legged dog, and she threw herself at my feet and rolled over for a belly-rub and said, “I will make you happy.” She is a dog of her word.
That was the first best thing.
The other best thing was our three week trip cross-country. Just for the hell of it, because we’d never done anything like it. In our 17 years together, we had taken one trip to North Carolina for a wedding and two vacations in Austin, Texas.
So Bob and I got in the car and drove. Well, he did, I was the passenger, leaning out window, taking pictures. To Nashville, to pick up my cousin Wil, who needed a lift back to Austin. We stayed in Austin with Wil and Jacquie for a few days and then took off again.
We’re not thrill-seekers. We meandered, looking around us with pure and genuine awe at America. We spent a day at the Grand Canyon, which neither of us had ever seen. I took about four hundred pictures, all told (then lost most of them later when the computer crashed–oh, 2012!).
We drove up Highway One, gaping at the coast on one side of us, mountains on the other. We stopped at nearly every turn-out, ether to have a cup of coffee or just stare with our mouths hanging open.
We stayed with dear friends in Santa Cruz, who took us in and showed us around. We saw some redwoods (which had started out as our goal), saw the Grateful Dead Archive and went to City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco. Heading home, we went through Yosemite National Park.
Did I mention stopping at every record store between Ohio and California? That’s an exaggeration, but if you know Bob, you know it’s mostly true. He mailed boxes of records back home. In fact, much of the trip was spent buying books and records and eating great food as well as wandering thunderstruck through nature.
I didn’t know the worst of 2012 was yet to come. The trip was incredibly restorative. Ohio is beautiful, but I wasn’t prepared for the amazing beauty of the rest of the country. It was the best gift I’ve ever gotten.
I realize now that Bob was motivated to do it because he was afraid my health was crashing; he was afraid if we didn’t do it then, we’d never be able to do it.
He certainly wasn’t expecting my demand that we do it again this year!
2013, the first year of the second half of my life, is leaving 2012 in the dust. My illness has been diagnosed and is being treated, I got Disability, I started a novel, Indi and I walk every day, I’m excited about this blog, and I am so grateful to be here.
And I really, really hope we take another trip.